RUAS back in the black

After recording net losses of just under £1m in each of the previous two financial years, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) generated a surplus of £562,978 from ordinary activities in the year to 31 October 2022.

Commenting, the chair of the RUAS finance committee, John Martin said that the Society had emerged “from a most challenging period in its history”, after various shows and events were cancelled or reduced in size due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The RUAS remains in a strong financial position overall, with fixed assets valued at £19.34m and subsidiary companies generating a surplus of £1.1m in the last financial year. These companies include businesses set up to re-develop the King’s Hall site in Belfast.

RHI claimants file legal case

The group that represents Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) participants in NI has lodged an application with the Court of Appeal to continue its long-running action.

Last month, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was lawful for the Department for the Economy to bring the cost of RHI under control by cutting previously guaranteed tariffs. The ruling follows two other unsuccessful legal challenges in the High Court in 2017 and 2021.

Ballymoney poultry producer Tom Forgrave has now filed another application in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Renewable Heat Association (RHANI) with a view of taking the case to the Supreme Court in London.

Johnstown Toffee a rising star

Banbridge breeder, Niall Forsythe won the supreme championship with Johnstown Toffee at the 2023 Rising Stars calf show organised by the NI Young Limousin Breeders Club at Dungannon Mart.

Toffee, an eight month old heifer sired by Jalex Itsallgood was tapped out as champion by judge Stephen Illingworth who runs the Glenrock herd near Lockerbie. Reserve champion went to Claragh Tyson, an 11 month old bull from John and Paul Rainey, Kilrea.

The commercial champion went to Keith and Stephen Williamson from Benburb for their yearling heifer, Esme. The young handler class was won by Fergal Gormley, Claudy, with runner-up awarded to Maisie Lee, Moneymore.

AFBI survey of NI farmers

NI farmers have been asked to complete a survey by AFBI which is looking to find out what makes them proud about farming. Diane Burgess from AFBI said the survey is also an opportunity for farmers to highlight what is worrying them about farming now and into the future, and to explain what they are doing to help the NI environment.

This survey is being funded by DAERA, and the results have the potential to shape DAERA policy.

For those who complete the survey, there are ten £100 vouchers to be won. The survey can be accessed via the AFBI website (

Over half of electricity needs in NI are renewable

Figures published by the Department for the Economy (DfE) show that from January to December 2022, 51% of total electricity consumption in NI was generated from renewable sources located within NI itself.

This is an increase of 9.7 percentage points on the previous 12 month period. Of the renewable electricity generated in 2022, 85.3% came from wind.

With NI so dependent on wind energy, the DfE report notes that renewable electricity can vary markedly from month to month.

In five months during 2022 the monthly proportion of electricity from renewables exceeded 50%.

The highest was the 76.5% in February, with the lowest, the 35.1% in August 2022.